Introduction to Curriculum Review


Understanding Curriculum

Curriculum, with Latin roots – ‘currere’ – means running of the course (Pinar, 2011), a racecourse. In an academic environment, our curriculum – the race course – becomes prescribed and described as the program of study, made up of a series of individual courses. Toombs & Tierney (1993) also describe curriculum as “an intentional design for learning negotiated by faculty in the light of their specialized knowledge and in the context of social expectations and student’s needs” (p. 183). However, curriculum is not static, but remains fluid and dynamic, ever changing. With learning being interpreted and experienced differently by diverse participants, making it important that we develop an awareness of our curriculum as constructed everyday by participants in our educational program. How are our participants experiencing the ‘race course’? What is their lived experience? Are we meeting identified program learning outcomes? How can we enhance the learning experience of our participants?

Definition of Curriculum Review (CR)

The curriculum review process provides an evidence-based means to answer questions we may have about our program. At the University of Calgary, curriculum review is defined as: a critical, evidence-based examination of academic programs for the purpose of optimizing student learning and student experience, led collaboratively by academic staff who teach in the program (University of Calgary, 2019, p. 3). At the University of Calgary, curriculum reviews are a formative component of the overall quality assurance strategy and focus on understanding students’ learning and experiences within a program. The curriculum review process will generate an action plan for enhancing the program, and an interim report will document the progress toward those plans (University of Calgary, 2019, p. 2).

Related content

Curriculum Review: Guiding Questions, Data Sources & Planning

Learn more >>

Supporting the Curriculum Review Process

Learn more >>